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DNA Gun Control

The most secure form of gun registration.
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When anyone buys a gun in the USA, they have to have that gun registered to them. My suggestion is that all gun be implanted with a microchip that is connected to a DNA/fingerprint scanner on the trigger. The gun, when purchased will be matched to only one person. Once a person is registered, the microchip's ability to be reprogrammed will terminate so that the gun can never be reprogrammed for another person. No one else will be able to use that gun because the scanner acts as a safety. Unless the correct fingerprint or sample of DNA is placed on the scanner, it will not fire. It could prevent the accidental shootings of children by other children with their parents' guns. It would also make it easier to figure out "whodunnit" in a shooting death. When you find out who the gun was DNA registered to, you find the murderer.
moonsprite, Oct 15 2001

(?) Smart gun http://www.nlectc.o...chproj/nij_p30.html
Fingerprint-controlled gun prototype [pottedstu, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Criticism of Colt's smart gun http://www.clede.co...Police/smartgun.htm
Radio-controlled, but some criticisms apply to fingerprint-controlled model as well. [pottedstu, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

BBC News report http://news.bbc.co....d_663000/663992.stm
Sets out the current state of the art. [pottedstu, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Oxford Micro Devices = cynicism http://www.omdi.com/safergun.html
Hey! Let's use people getting shot to sell our substandard DSP chips! [pottedstu, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Oswald Mosley's Circus http://www.guardian...6051,126993,00.html
A contemporary account of an attempted mass fascist rally in London that people disrupted without a shot being fired. [Aristotle, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Tony Martin. http://newssearch.b...y=%22Tony+Martin%22
Jailed for life for shooting dead a career criminal who broke into his home. [angel, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Tony Martin renounces Guns http://www.guardian...273,4279708,00.html
Coverage of his on-going appeal. [Aristotle, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) 3 Grannies foil Hijacker http://www.sky.com/...000-1032816,00.html
Three British gandmothers show that people who are over-reliant on guns can easily meet their match. [Aristotle, Oct 15 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       "no, officer, my identical twin sister did it."
lewisgirl, Oct 15 2001

       "Lawgiver" guns in 2000AD's Judge Dredd comic strip have this feature, with the added benefit that they explode when someone else tries to use them!
Lemon, Oct 15 2001

       A number of gun companies are working on smart guns. Colt have concentrated on an approach using a radio transponder which the owner wears; the gun only fires if it's within a couple of feet of the transponder. This is being marketed to stop cops being disarmed and shot with their own weapon. Smith & Wesson are concentrating on fingerprint control, but the prototype's a bit bulky, and it's still a few years from market.   

       I don't think you could do DNA testing on a palm-print or fingerprint just by pressing a gun against it; not without quite a wait.   

       There are other criticisms. One is reliability: if a gun fails to fire when you want it to, you could be dead. Another is the time it takes to remove a lock or perform a scan. Another is cost. Another is that police officers want to be able to use each other's guns in an emergency, and shoot with either hand.   

       I posted some links to show why this isn't going to happen any time soon, and why it's also mostly baked. In principle, fine, but think of the lawsuits if one of these fails and a cop gets shot (either when his gun malfunctions and he can't fire, or by his own weapon that's not locking out a crook).
pottedstu, Oct 15 2001

       You'd have to allow reprogramming for another person, otherwise you'd be effectively banning the resale of guns, and that's another can of worms again.
vincebowdren, Oct 15 2001

       So when a tyrant gov't wants to disarm the populace, they know EXACTLY who to go to? BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD idea.   

       Try again.   

       Registration preceeds confiscation. Confiscation preceeds extermination.
seal10, Oct 15 2001

       Ok, reprogramming would be allowed, but only law enforcement agencies would have the technology to do so. I'm not sure how you would prevent the leaking of such information to those who would use it for other purposes, but you have to start somewhere.
moonsprite, Oct 15 2001

       Oh dear, I have a nasty feeling I'm going to fall into the black hole which is the Halfbakery Gun Control Debate. Here goes...   

       While I don't believe that "registration precedes confiscation, which precedes extermination" I'm giving this one a fishbone because it's an idea which uses lashings of technology in a certainly ineffective attempt to solve what is really a social problem, and would massively inconvenience huge numbers of perfectly lawful people / activites. If each gun is "twinned" to its programmed owner then when what happens when Andrew sells his gun to Bob? Or when Andrew and Carl go shooting at the range together and would like to try each other's guns for a change? Or when Debra (Andrew's wife) tries use Andrew's gun to repel an intruder in their house? Or when Bob and Carl are out camping in a dinosaur-infested area and Bob grabs Carl's rifle in a hurry to shoot the approaching velociraptors? And as others have pointed out, the consequences of the gun failing to recognise its legal owner could be just as serious (why go out of our way to deliberately make any device less reliable?).   

       And this wouldn't inconvenience murderers & armed robbers one tiny bit. Firearms are essentially very simple machines, so all they would need to do is strip out all the sensors and circuitry. The only way to see how effective this would be is to give a sample of known gun-using criminals a batch of "safety-sensor" firearms and see how long it takes them to circumvent all the gadgetry. My bet is it wouldn't take very long at all.
Skinny Rob, Oct 15 2001

       In the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, THE USA, self-defense is a God-given RIGHT not a privilege.   

       You do not register your rights to exercise them. You don't register your religion with the government in order to make it ok for you to worship and you don't register your means of self-defense in order to make it ok to protect your life.   

       You OTHER countries can deal with your occasional multi-million person genocides every so often and your hijackings of government by the criminal few. In America, our right to self-defense makes us all equal and free.
snarf, Oct 15 2001

       Better idea, and more feasible: Arm everyone. An armed society is a polite society (so saith Robert Heinlen).
Guncrazy, Oct 15 2001

       While its true that some murderers & robbers are smart enough to disarm any circuitry, you forget that there are a lot of dumb people who steal guns from people's homes that couldn't open a tube of toothpaste without it being demonstrated to them. This kind of gun control is designed to stop that sort of criminal. Another thing to remember is that this sort of device is also used to prevent kids from shooting themselves with mom and dad's gun. There are a great many kids who are shot while playing with their parents gun. This sort of lock would prevent that from happening.
moonsprite, Oct 15 2001

       Disarming the circuitry wouldn't be much more difficult than opening a tube of toothpaste once someone's figured it out (30 seconds in the microwave ought to do it - we're talking destruction, not skilled lockpicking) and then it becomes common knowledge: like how to break into a car using a sink plunger and a bit of string. The best (no: *only*) way to stop children shooting themselves accidentally is for the adults to behave reponsibly and not let gun + ammunition into the children's hands. "Childproof" guns might even drive the wrong behaviour in parents: "I don't need to worry about little Timmy playing with the uzi whenever he likes, because it's got a KiddiLok." And why must guns be made safe for children to play with, anyway? Knives are dangerous to play with: so are matches and glassware and kettles full of boiling water and staircases and razor blades, but we see no desire to legislate against these things.   

       Christ, I sound like an NRA spokesman. I'm really a mild-mannered gunophobic Englishman. I don't know what came over me. Sorry.
Skinny Rob, Oct 15 2001

       waugsqueke: My lecture is only silly becuase it proves you ignorant.   

       Our "archaic" freedoms in America (the longest-lived free Republic on Earth) have given us the strength to bail out backward, socialist-enslaved, eurotrash on more than one occasion when their problems got ugly enough.   

       BTW: what's the EU's sky-high unemployment rate up to these days?
snarf, Oct 15 2001

       What is it about some people that at the least mention of firearms they have to jabber on for hours about how wonderful they are and how nothing's more important to them than their sacred right to kill deer and how they would fight and die for them and how you'll have to pry them out of their cold dead fingers? Don't they realise that such fanaticism isn't exactly a good advertisement for gun ownership? If everyone who speaks up for guns can't control their mouths, what's the chance of them keeping the safety catch on anything else?
pottedstu, Oct 15 2001

       waugs: Your responses are so void of content it makes me pity you.
snarf, Oct 15 2001

       pottestu: Funny, I looked through all the responses and I didn't see any about killing deer. :)   

       This is too easy. I need at least two or three more freedom-haters to gang up on me.
snarf, Oct 15 2001

       [Skinny Rob]: Its not a matter of parents letting their child play with a loaded gun. Children will inevitably find their parents' gun no matter where the adults try to hide it. Its just like Christmas presents in that sense. You may think that you have the best hiding spot for it but more than likely little Johnny has already found the gun. They may also find it accidentaly when an adult is not around.   

       Carelessness on the part of the parents isn't the issue. The issue is that most accidental shooting deaths of children occur because the kid found the gun while playing and pulled the trigger. They don't know if its loaded. Its just a great new toy for them.   

       Of course this opens up the issue of why a loaded gun is kept in a house where children play and yet another can of worms...
moonsprite, Oct 15 2001

       // And this wouldn't inconvenience murderers & armed robbers one tiny bit. Firearms are essentially very simple machines, so all they would need to do is strip out all the sensors and circuitry. [...] My bet is it wouldn't take very long at all. //   

       Even making mechanical modifications to this end doesn't require all that much intelligence. Anyone can download documents explaining step-by-step how to convert a semi-auto firing mechanism into a full-auto one. No, I will not provide a link!   

       // And why must guns be made safe for children to play with, anyway? Knives are dangerous..., but we see no desire to legislate against these things //   

       Well, I guess it's because in this day and age, adults can't be bothered to take the time and trouble to be responsible with storing their weapons properly, let alone spending the time to teach children the proper respect for guns and safe handling.   

       As for other dangerous items, they are too useful on an every day basis for the masses to be willing to even consider giving them up. The lawmakers already know this, and so don't even bother raising the question.   

       I think it is important that children be taught from day one about guns. They need to know as soon as possible what a gun is, how it works, what it can do to them and others, and that IT IS NOT A TOY. Unfortunately, too many toys are made to look and act like guns. Children get the wrong message. They think that guns only shoot foam darts or water. They think it's all right to point them at people and pull the trigger. We are the adults. It is our responsibility to keep the guns out of reach (locked in a safe, not merely "hidden") and to educate the children about gun safety.
BigBrother, Oct 15 2001

       What Happens After Gun Control   

       The Soviet Union established gun control in 1929. From 1929 to 1953, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.   

       Turkey established gun control in 1911. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.   

       Germany established gun control in 1938. From 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill people, and other "mongrelized peoples," unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.   

       China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.   

       Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.   

       Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.   

       Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, 1 million "educated people," unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.   

       TOTAL VICTIMS: 56,000,000
lumpy, Oct 16 2001

       Peter: The Roman Empire is no longer on Earth, is it?   

       The largest land animal on earth in the elephant... dinosaurs are long gone.   

       Apples and oranges, my friend.
snarf, Oct 16 2001

       Nah, let him use his trusty Sig Sauer .380. Should be able to nail a 767 with that. For that matter, it can't be that hard to kill an anthrax bacterium with a well aimed shot, they're not very big critters.
A Farrago Of Calumnies, Oct 16 2001

       [lumpy] seems to be forgetting (or ignoring) the fact that the victims of whom he speaks were 'rounded up' by the legitimate law-enforcement agencies of their respective countries. Their use of firearms to evade such would have been less than effective.
angel, Oct 16 2001

       [lumpy] also seems to be forgetting to talk any sense whatsoever. Still, that's gun ownership for you. Is it the cordite fumes or the fact that they've all accidentally shot themselves in the head?   

       YAWN! I'm going somewhere else to argue about ponytail fasteners.
pottedstu, Oct 16 2001

       PeterSealy, A population that carries small arms is no safer in the face of anthrax or airplanes used as missiles. However if guns makes Americans feel more secure, knowing that their local fascist militias are well-armed, then thats democracy for you.
Aristotle, Oct 16 2001

       So how does putting an American flag on your SUV help?
A Farrago Of Calumnies, Oct 16 2001

       I used to favor gun control measures until a co-worker had me read "More Guns, Less Crime" by John R. Lott Jr. It changed my mind, which isn't something I do often.   

       Anyway, that's all I had to say.
DrBillH, Oct 16 2001

       If gun ownership makes you safer, how much safer would America be if everyone had their own little cannister of Anthrax spores!
pottedstu, Oct 16 2001

       I'm amazed at the erratic and nonsensical shriekings of those who abhor the right to self-defense. There are rogue countries all over the world with nasty weapons, but instead they're worried that the average law-abiding citizen might be able to defend themselves from criminals isolated or governmental, foreign or domestic.   

       Gun control laws don't hurt or impede terrorists, rogue nations, or criminals of whatever type. Gun control laws hurt people who can be trusted to defend themselves. Americans use guns an average of 2,000,000 times a year to prevent crime, most often by simply showing their gun. Gun control is victim disarmament.
seal10, Oct 16 2001

       [seal10]: // average law-abiding citizen might be able to defend themselves from criminals isolated or governmental, foreign or domestic. //   

       I'm absolutely with you, but a gun can only take out one attacker at a time. What are you to do when faced with a street-gang, a hijacked airplane, or a rogue Arab nation? Handguns would not be enough.
pottedstu, Oct 16 2001

       Stu, there has never been a one-size-fits-all weapon and there never will be.
seal10, Oct 16 2001

       [pottedstu]: Yes, a gun can only take care of one attacker at a time. However, any reliable revolver or semi-auto can take care of one attacker at a time, in rapid succession.   

       Street gangs? I have yet to see a mob that was not deterred by the prospect of facing lethal force. Who kept their businesses from harm during the LA riots? Armed shopkeepers. What happened in Italy when that anarchist called the retreating policeman's bluff? The officer discharged his Beretta into said anarchist's head, and the rest of them scattered like roaches. What happened to the punks who pulled Reginald Denny from his truck? Oh, I forgot...Denny wasn't armed, and the punks crushed his skull with bricks. Anyway, the moral of the story is this: Rioters are cowards, they prey exclusively on the weak, and armed citizens who display a willingness to defend themselves have little to fear even when surrounded by this sort of chaos.   

       A hijacked airplane? Obviously, if you are fortunate enough to be armed with a gun, you shoot the hijackers. In every single hijacking case I've ever heard of, the hijackers were vastly outnumbered by peaceable passengers. In short, anyone who threatens the safety of a planeload of armed passengers is NOT going to succeed with anything less than a weapon of mass destruction.   

       A rogue Arab nation? Well, that's what we've got an Army for. Handguns are not designed to be the primary weapons of conventional warfare. Still, in every conflict America has entered, it has found that the most effective infantrymen have a long familiarity with arms.   

       In nearly every case where a peaceable citizen has been victimized by violent crime, having arms, training, and the will to defend oneself with deadly force could have prevented the attack, or at least mitigated its success. This is why, in every state which has passed favorable concealed weapons laws, the violent crime rate has dropped.
Guncrazy, Oct 16 2001

       [H]: The statistics that lumpy posted within this topic are more relevant, and more compelling.   

       At any rate, I've already read a good comparison between nations in David Kopel's "The Samurai, The Mountie and The Cowboy."   

       Also, I'm interested in your rationale for saying that the NRA website provides no meaningful statistics, but that yours are apparently gospel.
Guncrazy, Oct 16 2001

       PeterSealy: I was really building on your comment, not attacking it. As [GunCrazy] so kindly pointed out small arms are not effective against large threats or armies, so they won't be effective against fascist dictatorships taking over either. As you have pointed out New York may have already succumbed ...   

       Beside as [Lemon] pointed out this idea is half-baked.
Aristotle, Oct 17 2001

       [Aristotle]: Granted, small arms are not suited to directly dealing with every type of threat. Just as a screwdriver is unsuited to the tasks of pounding a nail, planing a board or drilling a hole, so are small arms ineffective at defending individuals from bombs, chemical weapons, or overwhelmingly large invading armies.   

       Does this mean, then, that the screwdriver has little utility to the craftsman, or the handgun no practical use to the defensive citizen? Certainly not! While neither tool is applicable to every situation, there are still many times where the use of each is called for.   

       I do take special note of your comment regarding the use of small arms in dealing with the takeover of oppressive governments, though. This situation is precisely the reason the Founders sought to protect the right to arms by writing the 2nd Amendment. And despite the great advances in weaponry over the past 225+ years, small arms are still wonderfully suited to the task of resistance to such a government.
Guncrazy, Oct 17 2001

       GunCrazy: It's interesting to hear your views that small arms are useful for resisting such a government as proposed by the Founding Fathers. This is presumably why some Latin American people managed to overthrow dictatorships that were bankrolled by their inheritors. And why the government building in Oklahoma was blown up by a (presumably armed) "freedom fighter".
Aristotle, Oct 17 2001

       I see no evidence that small arms are useful in resisting the US government. No political change has ever been effected in the US by someone with a gun. Guns did not combat segregation in the south; the suppression of unions in the north in the early part of the century; the internment of Japanese Americans; and they did little to prevent the genocide of indigenous Americans. In fact, guns have always been more widely used against the people and by the forces of reaction than for the people; most progressive movements have been shot at, rather than doing the shooting. Passive resistance is the proper technique to use (ask Thoreau).   

       And if you want to allow the full range of self-defence against violent regimes, hijacked planes heading for your building, etc, you're going to need to legalise a wide range of much bigger weaponry - tanks, rocket launchers, artillery, nuclear weapons. if you seek to ban any of these, you're accepting the principle of gun control or weapon control, and I salute you. If not, I'm not coming within 1000 miles of your house, and hoping you can't afford an ICBM.   

       [This was a sensible technical discussion till the NRA got here. Now it's like a car-crash. Must - not - look - just - pass - by -quietly.]
pottedstu, Oct 17 2001

       [Aristotle]: //It's interesting to hear your views that small arms are useful for resisting such a government [w?]as proposed by the Founding Fathers.// Actually, it's not just my view. It's a well-documented fact, accepted by every honest scholar who has researched the subject. There is, to the best of my knowledge (and I have, indeed, searched), no credible evidence that the Founders intended the 2nd Amendment solely as a means of preserving the right to hunt game or shoot for sport.   

       Nor is the idea of an armed citizenry protecting their rights a new one. Aristotle (the Greek philosopher, not you), in his criticism of Hippodamas' ideal republic, noted that if arms were possessed by but a single class, the other classes would, in effect, become the slaves of that class which is armed.   

       As far as I can tell, the rest of your reply is non sequitur. I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make with the reference to Latin American revolutionaries, and Timothy McVeigh was clearly a terrorist, not a "freedom fighter".   

       [UnaBubba]: Crazy about them, never with them.   

       [pottedstu]: Most people have thought little about the strategies and tactics of armed resistance. For others, it is something of a hobby--albeit one of those admittedly odd sorts, such as studying and re-enacting Civil War battles, plotting theoretically perfect murders (not uncommon among forensic pathologists and mystery writers), or trainspotting. It's not surprising, then, that most people, yourself included, dismiss the idea that an armed populace might be able to effectively resist tyranny or an army of occupation. I won't delve into the theory of the matter here, as we're way too far off the original topic already. I will, however, say that certain aspects of it have been proven to be effective--most notably in Vietnam.
Guncrazy, Oct 17 2001

       [GunCrazy]: Evidence? Saying "X is true because the founding fathers said it was" is no good to anyone.
pottedstu, Oct 17 2001

       GunCrazy: I did not miss out the "w". The logical consequences of your "guns and violence should be used to get rid of governments people don't like" is Oklahoma, unfortunately. Do you have anything to say about the actual idea beyond quoting America's NRA propoganda?   

       Getting back to the main subject:   

       I now seem to recall that Judge Dredd's gun used a finger print analyser rather than a DNA analyser. It worked through gloves, incredibly enough. It never slowed old Joe Dredd down, of course.
Aristotle, Oct 17 2001

       I have personally never owned a gun. I grew up around guns, and used them for hunting as a youngster (teenager), so I am comfortable with them.   

       The more I see attempts to restrict or eliminate gun ownership, the more I want to own one.   

       A just government has nothing to fear from an armed populace.   

       You can't eliminate guns. Their design is so simple that if you get rid of all of them, a handyman can easily make his own in a garage or basement, with a few hours and hardware store items. If you accept that as fact, then what follows?   

       People who want guns for illegal purposes will always be able to get them - we can make it harder or easier, but they can get them if determined enough.   

       Why are you afraid of an armed populace? Sure, people do stupid things with guns. But we do stupid things with all manner of objects. There's nothing special about guns. Ban automobiles, if you're really concerned about "senseless death" and "unnecessary violence." Every argument you use to make the case for banning guns works for banning cars, too.   

       It is an error of reason to allocate moral agency to objects, rather than to persons / behaviors.   

       Ah, this just tires me. If you want to ban guns, please take a little time to have personal experience first. Take a gun safety class. Go to a firing range and meet responsible gun owners.
quarterbaker, Oct 17 2001

       [waugsqueke]: When you are able to convince the government and the criminal class to give up their arms, as well as all their ignoble intentions, forever, I might be persuaded to give up my own arms.   

       [pottedstu]: Never did I say that. Please re-read my post.   

       [Aristotle]: <pedantry alert> I added the "w" because I couldn't make sense of your comment as it was written. </pedantry alert> As for the logical consequence of using guns and violence to displace an oppressive government, that would be The United States of America. Oklahoma City was, by admittance, an act of revenge, not revolution.
Guncrazy, Oct 17 2001

       Bit of a hot topic what what? I'd be interested to know what side of the Atlantic most of the pro-gun annotaters live on. I could probably guess. In erm, Northern Ireland we've been doing fine without guns for years.
stupop, Oct 17 2001

       OK blissmiss, you're a cab.
quarterbaker, Oct 17 2001

       <SteppingInToClarifySomePoints> [pottedstu] The U.S. Constitution doesn't provide for private ownership of arms for the populace to overthrow the government, the U.S. Constitution provides for the privade ownership of arms for the populace to protect itself from the government. Not so practical in this day and age, but at the time we still had your king on our mind.
Additionally ("...Guns did not combat segregation in the south; the suppression of unions in the north in the early part of the century...), if you review any news footage of the integration efforts in the southern U.S. states during the 50's and 60's it's odds-on that you'll see armed soldiers enforcing the law. And while I've never seen film footage of it, unionization was fought against viciously by the wealthy industrialists of the time. Including shooting the strikers.

       "Passive resistance is the proper technique to use (ask Thoreau)" I agree. So did America's founding fathers. That's why we have the right to vote. </SteppingInToClarifySomePoints>   

       Disclaimer: While I fully support the right to bear arms, I do not/have not/don't plan to own a gun of any type. Also, while it appears that these comments are directed at [pottedstu], they're not. I'm just bouncing off his statements. All that having been said: Corrupt Carp Carcass
phoenix, Oct 17 2001

       [phoenix] Surely if you have to protect yourself from the government, eventually you'll either have to overthrow it or make yourselves independent. Either way, it's entirely possible you'll have to take on the entire military might of the government. I know in theory there's a distinction between overthrowing the government and defeating it (the goal of defending yourself against it), but in practice, militarily, there is little.   

       And as for strikers being shot and civil rights campaigners being shot, that's exactly my point - the civil rights campaigners and union organisers were fighting the government or forces allied with the government. The right to bear arms did not help them. The government and big business are always going to have more money, more soldiers and more guns. No campaigning group has ever defeated the government by arms, or even changed its policy. Are you arguing that's simply because they didn't have *enough* guns? Or does defending basic human rights not count as protecting yourself?   

       And no one's prepared to tell me if the right to own explosives or artillery is similarly sacred.   

       quarterbaker: // A just government has nothing to fear from an armed populace. // Sounds suspiciously like: "a just citizen has nothing to fear from a totalitarian/invasive government/ID cards/gun control...". As far as I can tell, a just government has plenty to fear from an armed populace. Are you saying *no one* is going to use their guns as long as the government stays just?   

       Maybe I just don't buy this idea that the government is the enemy of the population. We're supposed to be living in democracies. You don't like the government, you have the political means to overturn it. It is morally wrong to kill politicians just because you disagree with them.
pottedstu, Oct 17 2001

       Although I don't entirely agree with [Guncrazy], I'd like to point out that his arguments are calm, reasoned, and well-presented, and the level of aggression in some replies seems a little extreme.
Oh, and [blissmiss], 'In erm, Northern Ireland we've been doing fine without guns for years.' - you realise that [stupop] was joking? (You *were* joking, right?)
angel, Oct 18 2001

       [GunCrazy]'s arguments about guns being used to oppose fascists taking over a country are actually both offensive and naive to us Brits who have countered such a takeover without guns in living history.   

       Oswald Mosley was foiled by street battles, Greenpeace-style disruption of attempted mass rallies (see link) and popular rejection of the militaristic and fascist way of life he was proposing. Our current fascist party, the British National Party, is starved of funding nowdays due to it's abysmal popularity in the UK although American fascist sympathisers have recently been caught red-handed in the act of providing the funding this despised party needs to survive.   

       [GunCrazy] is obviously unaware of all this.
Aristotle, Oct 18 2001

       <pseudo-Heinlein>An armed school is a polite school.</pseudo-Heinlein>
Guy Fox, Oct 18 2001

       [pottedstu/UnaBubba] And my point is that there is a difference between having the right and exercising it. Those union organizers knew what they were doing as evidenced by the number of unions (and improved working conditions) in the U.S. today.   

       In re: "No campaigning group has ever defeated the government by arms, or even changed its policy", again you're taking the wrong view. There is a difference between campaigning (which the U.S. Constitution allows for via the right to vote) and overthrowing the government (which the U.S. Constitution outlaws). I don't believe *anyone* here has advocated the use of violence to overthrow the (U.S., I assume) government. That's not what this discussion started out as and no one has mentioned it but you two. I also don't believe any sensible American expects to have to defend themselves against the U.S. government - but we have the *right* to and that is the point.   

       And if times ever get so bad here in the U.S. that we did have to defend ourselves, I think they'd find themselves up against a significant portion of our 285,000,000 citizens - somewhat more than the 40,000 you postulate.   

       (from Britannica.com) "Militia: military organization of citizens..." Q.p.q. the right of citizens to bear arms. And to your point [pottedstu], I don't see that this needs to be limited to small arms either. I wouldn't own a bazooka/tank/Stinger missile, but would like to be able to buy one.
phoenix, Oct 18 2001

       Since a couple of you have turned this personal -- I am not a wife-beater (I am a single gay man who hasn't had sex in 3 years). I am a pacifist. If you talked to people who know me, they would tell you that I am probably the least violent person they know.   

       I don't wear camouflage, and I don't practice with a militia, I don't play GI Joe, and I don't live in Montana.   

       I am a highly educated man, with degrees in philosophy and psychology. I am employed in a professional capacity.   

       I don't even own any guns (currently). But I will soon buy a couple of guns, while I still can.   

       When I was younger, I took gun safety courses. I have always treated guns with respect. Admittedly, some people are far too casual and reckless with firearms - they mix alcohol with guns, they violate hunting regulations, etc. I don't engage in or tolerate those behaviors, and I don't endure the company of people who do.   

       I have no visions of storming a federal building, or shooting at legislators. I am a law-abiding citizen and plan to continue to be one.   

       I don't want to overthrow the government ("the very governments which strive to guarantee those standards"). That is pure folly.   

       But an armed populace just one of the items on the list of things that reduce the likelihood that the government will "go bad" and turn against the standards for which I now cherish it. What else is on that list: - principled, constitutionally governed judicial system - balance of powers between branches of government - restrictions on majority rule - protection of individual liberty   

       The removal of any of these items (not just the right to bear arms) indicates a dangerous shift, and will reduce my support for the government.   

       Finally - the world is a very unpredictable place. If anything, recent events have shown how fragile our society is. It doesn't take much for a city to devolve into a riot zone. A few more anthrax scares, and small pharmacy owners may appreciate having arms to defend their shops from temporarily insane friends and neighbors who want to steal controlled chemicals without money or prescriptions. Sure, this sounds fanciful, but it is within the realm of possibility.   

       Lawlessness of the masses is not very far below the surface of polite conventionality that we all enjoy in times of luxury. The prospect of turning a weapon on a fellow countryman churns my stomach, but if it ever becomes necessary to protect the principles listed above, then it is my duty to do so.
quarterbaker, Oct 18 2001

       quarterbaker: No-one is going to try and take your right to buy guns away but a belief that America is going to collapse into armed anarchy can be a self-fulfulling prophecy. I recommend you try to carry on living your normal life even if things appear bleak for you at the moment. The UK survived WWII when the enemy was just across the English Channel with all the associated nightly bombing raids and fear of gas attacks. We also always dealt with our fascists.   

       America and Americans can survive this as well.
Aristotle, Oct 18 2001

       Hmm... jumping into this thread could be a bit suicidal, but here goes:   

       1. I fail to see the huge interest that some bakers around here have in owning guns. I can understand, though, that others might.   

       2. There are several reasons to own guns. One of them is to kill people (murder), which is illegal. Other reasons include target practice, game hunting, etc... As far as I can tell, no-one is suggesting to completely ban firearms, though. Some people here are acting as if that was the case. People have given various other reasons revolving around self-defence, which amounts to either killing people, or threatening to do so. For instance, Œb pointed out that «small pharmacy owners may appreciate having arms to defend their shops». Well, in an armed society, any robbers would have easy access to guns, and would probably be much better prepared to use them than the average pharmacist (or whatever). Shooting people is not necessarily the best way to mete out justice.   

       3. Defence against the government?! The mind boggles. Um ... what pottedstu said. If the US government for some unlikely reason wanted to control their citizens, (a) they could do it whether they were armed or not; (b) wouldn't bother to impose gun control as a first stage of this.   

       4. "People who want guns will be able to get them illegally, therefore they should be legal." -- paraphrased Œb and GunCrazy. Argh! This argument can be applied to almost anything which is not legal. How would you feel about "People who want ballistic missiles will be able to make them illegally, therefore they should be legal"? Or "People who want to commit robbery will be able to steal stuff anyway, therefore theft should be legal"?   


       5. Okay, that's enough of a rant for now. I think I'll quote [blissmiss]'s words of wisdom on the issue, though: «I thought this said "DNA Gum Control", and figured it would be used to identify those gum snapping, evil doers, that sneak around in society trying to fit in.» Undoubtedly noble sentiments on a far more interesting issue.
cp, Oct 18 2001

       I appreciate the discussion here, especially the mostly civil tone in which it has been conducted.   

       My feelings (yes, I have some) on this issue are complex, which is healthily appropriate. I haven't touched guns in 20 years, though (as I have said) that will be changing. I actually do have an interest in hunting once again!   

       But enough about that. I have followed many discussions here on 1/2 Bakery over the last 6 months or so, and have come to appreciate and admire many of you (not to play favorites, really, but I genuinely like UnaBubba, and only wish he were a 30-something gay man living in middle America). I'm at the point where I don't want to discuss this further.   

       I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you, and your positions, and that I'm tired of this thread, and that my own position is not set in stone.
quarterbaker, Oct 18 2001

       [Aristotle]: I'm not quite sure where you got the idea that I was referring in particular to fascists. Any student of history can see clearly the pattern of rising and falling of governments, and how social orders established by those with benevolent intentions eventually fall under the rule of the corrupt. I think it extremely arrogant to suppose that human nature has really changed over the past 6,000 years or so of recorded history--that the democratic institutions of this generation are but the beginnings of an eternal era of enlightenment, in which the rulers will ever seek the best interests of their subjects over their own. In the light of history, it is not cynical, but realistic, to expect that the days of benevolent rule in America, Great Britain, Canada, and wherever else it may be found, will end. And as the citizens of many a war-torn, impoverished country can tell you, the end will not be pleasant--especially for those unprepared for it.   

       [Guy Fox]: Regarding armed schools, it has long been policy in Israel for teachers to be armed. There was a time, of course, when more 'moderate' voices prevailed, and Israeli teachers were asked to leave their arms behind on a field trip--and an Arab gunman used that opportunity to open fire on the defenseless students, killing seven and wounding six.   

       [waugsqueke]: Why just be pissed whenever a crime is committed with a stolen weapon? I get angry whenever I hear of a crime being committed--even if the perpetrator mowed lawns and saved pennies to buy his weapon.   

       [UnaBubba]: I feel much the same about not living in your country. I don't know how anyone could feel safe in a place which sentences people to life imprisonment for defending themselves from home invaders.   

       [quarterbaker]: Thank you very much for pointing out that civility is but a thin veneer over barbarism. Certainly unpleasant to think about (which I suppose is why so few do), but it's certainly something which should be pondered, especially in these times when anonymous groups are striving to induce panic in a large population.   

       [cp]: Never have I made, nor would I ever make, the argument which you attribute to me in the 4th point of your post.
Guncrazy, Oct 18 2001

       May I be so bold as to suggest that your exceptional offense to crimes committed with stolen guns is an emotional response, rather than a rational one?   

       Somehow, I doubt that you are similary outraged at auto owners whose vehicles were boosted, then used to injure innocents while the felons fled the police. Likewise, I'm sure you'd deny any responsibility should a corpse be found with a knife, stolen from your kitchen, buried in its chest.   

       It makes no sense to hold an individual responsible for actions committed by others, simply because a bit of his property, unjustly taken from him, was involved.   

       You say that a person's right to life is considerably more important than my right to own a gun. That may be, but logically, there is no conflict between the two. In fact, the right to own arms is an extention of the right to life. For if it is accepted that one has a right to his life, it must be accepted that he has a right to defend his life from those who would unjustly take it.
Guncrazy, Oct 18 2001

       [Guncrazy] may be referring to the Tony Martin case in UK (link).
angel, Oct 19 2001

       //Anyway, gun control argument = been there, done that. See link and let's move along...waugsqueke, Oct 16 2001//
//I'm out of this discussion. It's becoming surreal... UnaBubba, Oct 18 2001//

       Hmmm...sure about that?
( Heh. )
iuvare, Oct 19 2001

       [GunCrazy] Your bizzare theories don't stand up for much examination when they are compared with actual historic events do they? I see that you failed to explain how the UK managed to oppose Mosley without guns and avoid extermination.   

       [angel] Tony Martin has claimed in his recent appeal that he was insane at the time he killed the adolescent, he sincerly regrets doing it and he has renounced guns. So [GunCrazy] can't be talking about this case unless he in favour of insane gunmen.
Aristotle, Oct 19 2001

       [Guncrazy] Sorry. After re-reading your comments, you're quite correct there. I'm getting mixed up with other such debates here at œb. And although my country may sentence people to life imprisonment for some crimes, at least we don't have a death penalty. ... Forget I said that, that'd just spark another debate.   

       [ŒB] «Every argument you use to make the case for banning guns works for banning cars, too.» Cars aren't used for "self-defence" i.e. killing people, or threatening to do so. Additionally, because cars _are_ dangerous, and thus you need a licence to use one. (N.B. I'm not sure about whether the same applies to firearms or how hard it is to get a licence.) Not to mention that I haven't heard of a single case where children found their parents car and accidentally killed someone with it.   

       [waugsqueke] I imagine that Monsanto (et al.) would be interested in controlling guns that shoot their patented DNA.   

       [UnaBubba] You don't seem to be able to stop posting even to one thread in the œb for more than a short period of time. (Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.)
cp, Oct 19 2001

       [off-topic to UnaBubba] Yes indeed, your elf has not only been starved and neglected for the last couple of weeks, I hear that it resorted to eating some of the bacteria-infested left-over Chinese rice that you put in the fridge. Rumour has it that the elf has learned to drive and is currently speeding down the Nullarbor with Mr bin Laden in the back seat.   

       Why did I just write that?
cp, Oct 19 2001

       Perhaps all guns should be peace-bonded with custard ...
Aristotle, Oct 19 2001

       [Aristotle]: To say that Tony Martin claims to have been insane is a fairly radical interpretation of a diminished responsibility defence, which is, as you surely know, fairly common. In any event, his legal team presumably regard the claim to be his best route to early release. Personally, I think he should have stuck to his guns (no pun intended) to establish the principal that a person is entitled to protect his property. No, I do not accept that anyone is entitled to try to kill an intruder, but I *do* believe that he is entitled to use appropriate force. Should that force result in the death of the intruder, the charge should be involuntary manslaughter, not murder.
angel, Oct 19 2001

       Angel: See the link above for the full story. It describes in detail the extent of Tony Martin's self-alleged paranoid personality disorder. Essentially his claims make it clear that he feels that if he was sane he would never have performed such an act.   

       I also include (for light relief) a link to a tale of 3 British grannies seeing off an armed carjacker using nothing but true grit. Prehaps we should rent our old women out as bodyguards for frightened air travellers ...
Aristotle, Oct 19 2001

       [Ouch. If I'm going to be digging my own grave here, I may as well do it properly:]   

       Yes, but at least I recognise that I'm desirably pathetic. Something like that, anyway.
cp, Oct 19 2001

       Aristotle: That link suggests one of those Idea Concatenation Ideas - Industry Standard Anti-Hijacking Grannies.
Guy Fox, Oct 19 2001

       UnaBubba -   

       Don't worry, I have no ambitions of "converting" anyone. Besides, I've sworn off married men!   

       Big, hairy, and ugly I could live with. It's the petite, cute gym-bunnies and pseudo men that I can't stand. I'm kind of like Grizzly Adams, but without the beard (currently). Not many men around here seem to be attracted to me {"here" is the big empty space somewhere between Minneapolis and Denver}, so yeah, sometimes I'm a "sad lonely man."   

       Ah, I need to get laid.
quarterbaker, Oct 19 2001

       My sympathies, qb. Disco-bunnies, scene queens and muscle mary's... arrgh. And Glasgow ain't exactly San Francisco either.
Guy Fox, Oct 19 2001

       GF - I once had a scene queen after me for a while - what a turn-off. Hadn't seen the phrase "muscle mary" before. I've never been to Glasgow, but it brings to mind green fields and forests and fjord-like coasts and cold seas with burly men wearing earth-tone sweaters and getting politely drunk in hobbit-hole pubs.   

       UB - I don't get the girly-man thing, either. There have been a couple of good write ups on that subject, and how is (in a sense) perverse/ironic: if you're gay, and attracted to *men*, then what's with the pseudo-feminization (hyperfemininity)? I guess there's a general sense in the g/l/other multiverse that gender is kind of a screwy thing, so we see lots of hyper-genderization and also de-genderization. But, personally, I rather like traditional manly men, the average joe-next-door kind.   

       [aside: wierd, but gives me comfort in this screwy world, that a thread on gun control results in a conversational strand like this one]
quarterbaker, Oct 19 2001

       <Increasingly off-topic> It's more sort of green parks and sandstone buildings ('Glaschu', the Gaelic, supposedly translates as 'dear green place' and I could be wrong but I think we have the most number of trees of any European city per head of population). The burly men in earth-tone sweaters, cold seas and fjord-like coasts are all up-north in the Highlands, however, although my local pub is a bit of a hobbit-hole, (and with a name like 'Hubbards' it should be).   

       And, yeah: "If I wanted to shag a *girl*, I'd be straight." is one of my oft-repeated impolitely-drunken comments (usually followed by me being thumped by the female contingent amongst my drinking buddies).
Guy Fox, Oct 19 2001

       If you want to get my attention, send me email at <bakesperson@halfbakery.com>. Grand gestures in annotations are much less effective.   

       I agree that this thread is too big and talks about subjects that are irrelevant to its idea, but I don't think I should delete ideas just because they touch on provocative subjects. Maybe the owner could do some culling?
jutta, Oct 28 2001

       Aristotle: //Cars aren't used for "self-defence" i.e. killing people, or threatening to do so.//   

       First of all, it should be noted that in the vast majority of self-defense uses of firearms, the gun is not fired. After all, if a crook suddenly decides that he really didn't mean that bit about 'your money or your life', there's neither any need nor justification to shoot him. Crooks generally aren't terribly smart, but most crooks are smart enough to realize that when someone is pointing a gun at them they should cease any criminal activity.   

       Secondly, if someone's life is being threatened by a crook, what would you suggest that they do? Flight is a nice option, if the intended victim is fleeter of foot than the assailant, and if there's a clear path to flee to. When flight doesn't work, though, what then? Acquiescing to a robber is no guarantee that the robber won't decide he doesn't want any witnesses. And acquiescing to a rapist should be out of the question.   

       I should note: if a robber threatens to kill you if you don't give him money, you know by the fact that the guy is robbing you that he's not a trustworthy person. If you judge that he would probably kill you if you didn't give him the money, odds are still unacceptably high that he'd do so even if you did. And if you don't judge that he poses a real threat, there's still no reason for you to give him the money.
supercat, Jan 24 2002

       moonsprite: Perhaps you are unfamiliar with how firearms work; you'd hardly be unique in that regard.   

       One major problem with all 'smart gun' devices is that the only way to prevent them from being bypassed is to make the rest of the firearm's mechanism much more complicated than it would otherwise need to be (e.g. so it will only fire when the electronics engage certain solenoids with certain precise timing, etc.) Such complexity increases severely the likelihood that something will go wrong when the gun is needed. And if someone needs to fire a gun in self-defense, its failure to operate will very likely result in death or severe bodily harm to its operator.   

       There are certain cases where smart guns might be useful. Prison guards, for example, might benefit from them; if a prisoner takes a guard's weapon [a substantial risk for inner guards], perimeter guards (armed with conventional firearms) could subdue the prisoner before he could disable the mechanism; the perimeter guards might also be able to come to the rescue in case the inner guard's "smart gun" failed.   

       Smart guns, however, like trigger locks are only useful in situations where an unauthorized user won't have any significant time alone with the weapon. Even for protecting firearms from all but the youngest children, they'd be hopelessly inadequate. Far better for protecting children from guns is proper education. Ideally, movies and television would stop showing stupid gun handling (pointing an "unloaded" gun at someone and pulling the trigger as a joke, removing the magazine from a still-loaded pistol and considering it "safe", "twirling" revolvers and the like which are not visibly disabled, etc.) While there are a few truly-accidental discharges, 99.44% of injuries from so-called "accidental discharges" are the result of people wantonly disobeying even the most basic of firearms rules (per Jeff Cooper):   

       (1) EVERY GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED, with only two exceptions: [1] If you have not set the gun down or handled any ammunition since you looked and confirmed that both the top of the magazine well and the rear of the chamber (all chambers on a revolver) were devoid of ammunition; or [2] If you're carrying the gun for self-defense and haven't checked to ensure that it IS loaded.   

       (2) NEVER POINT A GUN AT ANYTHING YOU'D BE UNWILLING TO DESTROY. The only exception to this rule is when one needs to inspect the muzzle-end of the bore on a firearm which has been field-stripped. In such case, check the breach end first to make sure the gun really is unloaded, and disassemble the gun to the fullest extent practical before looking down the bore.   

       (3) KEEP YOUR FINGER AWAY FROM THE TRIGGER UNLESS/UNTIL THE MUZZLE IS ON TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT. People in movies and television always walk around with their fingers on the trigger. Stupid. I'd like to see Dana Sculley get startled when she's walking around with her finger on the trigger and shoot a hole in the ceiling. If one doesn't have a target, aiming will take longer than moving one's finger to the trigger, and the move can be done while the gun is aimed taking no extra time.   

       (4) NEVER SHOOT UNLESS YOU KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND IT. Any bullet that's fired will hit 'something', often with a lot of kinetic energy. It is a shooter's responsibility to know what that 'something' is or might be. [note: this rule may be bent slightly when shotgunning; since small shot tend to lose velocity quickly, it is often safe to trap-shoot over a suitable-sized field without having to worry about any shot going beyond. It's important to be familiar with the dimensions of the field and the shells one is using in such case].
supercat, Jan 24 2002

       I like the idea of an ANTI-DNA gun, controlled by the user. See:   

thrival, Jan 11 2004

       [Guy Fox] //although my local pub is a bit of a hobbit-hole, (and with a name like 'Hubbards' it should be).// Here pal, I drink in Hubbards once in a while. Watch your mouth.
ChewTheBeef, Jun 22 2004

       I'm just going to write this even though it's probably said above: criminals won't use DNA encoded guns...
SpocksEyebrow, May 07 2005


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